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Liver enzymes and crystal meth

Apr 5, 2013

Can long term use of crystal meth cause elevated liver enzymes or even a false positive test for hepatitis? Will the liver go back to normal after quitting crystal meth use? Do I need to be careful/monitor more closely my liver since now I take Atripla?

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thanks for writing. Crystal meth is a dangerous drug that can adversely affect not only moods (the release of dopamine causes a depression following use) but many physical systems as well: cardiovascular, skin, and the liver. The liver is responsible for processing everything we take into our body, and someone on HIV meds needs to treat their liver with extra kindness! Meth is not a friendly drug for your body, and actually competes with certain liver enzymes trying to process medications. The protease inhibitors are particularly dangerous to combine with meth because of increased amounts of the recreational drug cannot be adequately processed, leading to toxicity. Such drug use can lead to irreversible liver damage.

Meth can also impact medication adherence and set up a dangerous addictive spiral. I have not heard of meth causing a false positive for hepatitis, but I advise you to be frank with your doctor about all your recreational drugs so that you can collaboratively monitor your liver.

For help giving up methamphetamine check out Narcotics Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, or SMART Recovery.

Take care,


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